New Orleans Brass Bands has led to a world-wide resurgence of Brass Bands throughout the world. Some remain closer to the roots of their Crescent City inspiration than others. Toronto's Heavyweights bring there own personality to the New Orleans Brass Band sound but they honor their influences with this recording made in New Orleans. The Heavyweights are comprised of John Pittman - Trumpet; Chris Butcher - Trombone; Paul Metcalfe - Tenor Saxophone Tim Richards - Tuba, and Lowell Whitty - Drums with guests including guitarist Kevin Breit and legendary vocalist Jackie Richardson along with bass drum from Joe Lastie of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, baritone saxophone from Roger Lewis of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, trumpet from Ashlin Parker of the Ellis Marsalis Quartet, and vocals from Marla W#alters (Dixon) founder of the Shotgun Jazz Band.
Butcher contributed the opening "Hands Down Lo’," with Lastie on bass drum and Parker adding trumpet on a performance that would be at home on early recordings by the Dirty Dozen, and Rebirth Brass Bands. Also sounding like those modern New Orleans Brass Band is the rendition of Paul Metcalfe's arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good." Richard's "Two Foot Ticket" takes down the tempo and is as much a feature for Breit's bluesy guitar with the horns providing a background. The band's irresistible second line returns with "I've Got Time For You," that features a terrific barreling tuba solo and then searing trumpet from Pittman and saxophone from Metcalfe.
After a short solo baritone saxophone break from Roger Lewis ("Roger's Intro"), the Heavyweights join in for "Dance Out On the Corner," another number that will get the listeners feet moving with Lewis taking a baritone sax solo full of swagger and substance above the insistent groove Richards and Whitty lay down. Pittman and Metcalfe wail on this and Marla Dixon joins the band in their vocals here. Then there is another driving Brass Band number, "Rosco's Big Hit," with Ashlin Parker adding upper register trumpet fireworks.
The Heavyweights close with Steve Earle's homage to post-Katrina New Orleans, "This City," with Jackie Richardson singing "This City won't wash away. This City won't ever drown... ." It is a marvelous performance, even if sounds like something The Band might have recorded as opposed to the partying and street parade of a New Orleans Brass Band. Still there is plenty to party to as well as listen to on this high-spirited and energetic set of modern Brass Band music.
I received a review copy from a publicist. Here The Heavyweights Brass Band perform "Just the Two of Us."